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Japantown (San Jose), San Jose

2.7
#9 of 10 in Sightseeing in San Jose
Neighborhood Tourist Spot
Japantown is the portion of San Jose, California bounded by First Street to the west, 8th Street to the east, Empire Street to the south and Taylor Street to the north; it is just north of Downtown San Jose. Japantown originally formed around the existing "Heinlenville" Chinatown settlement. During World War II, the Japanese American population was forcibly removed from Japantown and unjustly incarcerated in camps. On their return after the war, many resettled in the area. The expansion and growth of Silicon Valley caused many Japanese to leave the area, but the culture and vitality of this community remains. Japantown is designated as an authentic ethnic neighborhood and is home to many traditional Japanese restaurants as well. The California State Legislation designated this area as one of the last three remaining historical Japantowns in the United States. The area has embarked upon capital improvement projects that have engaged the neighborhood and community in discussion and planning for the future of the area. New market rate housing has attracted new residents who love the neighborly feel and walkable community. Currently, awards won for work on the first phase, Historic District Reconnaissance Survey recognize the significant contributions of the Chinese and Japanese legacies.Japantown is the site of the Japanese American Museum of San Jose, San Jose Taiko, Shuei-do Manju Shop, Nichi Bei, hand-made tofu at San Jose Tofu, and a variety of restaurants, professional services, community organizations and small retail shops. Having been written up in the New York Times, the 7 Bamboo Lounge is one of the most popular karaoke bars in the Bay Area. Two churches founded by Japanese over 100 years ago, Wesley United Methodist Church and San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin, thrive on the same street, Fifth Street, which now also leads to the new San Jose City Hall. Indeed, the Fifth and Jackson Landmark was designed to be seen from City Hall as a beacon and reminder of the people that have helped to build the city.
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96 reviews
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  • It's just the Japanese live and feel it is not a tourist destination. If you feel there is no need for you to follow if you dare to travel. Japanese restaurants in this beautiful women's Japan food purpose.
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  • I'm not sure if I missed something, but Japantown seemed to be mostly restaurants. Some of the buildings had Japanese elements, but there wasn't much in the way of Japanese architecture. Food was good...  more »
  • While only a few blocks long, Japantown boasts some very authentic Japanese Restaurants, Buddhist culture and interesting stores including a bakery for dogs!  more »

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Where to stay in San Jose

Luxury hotels surrounded by palm trees and fountains host many visitors to Silicon Valley. Some of the largest hotels are congregated around the convention center. Farther away from downtown, you'll find hotels and bed and breakfasts in renovated historical mansions, complete with chandeliers and marble floors.
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